An easy guide to biking across the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, CA. Information on cycling routes, bike rentals, what to wear and general tips.
One of my favorite adventures in San Francisco is biking across the Golden Gate Bridge. There are many options for routes, depending on your level of fitness – and level of ambition. Visitors from out-of-town are always asking me for advice on how best to see Golden Gate Bridge, and for sure it’s on a bicycle! I want to share with you all of my tips and tricks to help you have the best – and safest – time. You’ll find everything you need in this handy guide, inspired by a recent ride that Cynthia and I did.
To fuel us on our adventure, we grabbed my favorite Naked Pressed Juices. Naked has two new cold-pressed juices out this month, and I think they might be my favorite yet. The juices are made of high quality fruits and vegetables plus the surprising addition of botanical ingredients.
What you won’t find added is sugar, or preservatives. Their juices are shipped to stores immediately after pressing so you get the highest-quality, best-tasting juice in every bottle. The new Botanical Apples to Lavender flavor has apple, cucumber, beet, cranberry, lemon, passionfruit – and lavender oil. Citrus Lemongrass has orange, apple, cucumber, pineapple, spinach, lemon, passionfruit – and lemongrass oil. SO good!
Tips for Biking Across the Golden Gate Bridge
- Dress warmly! Even on the nicest days in San Francisco, the bridge is freezing. It’s super windy and there is often a thick layer of fog. Summer is the coldest time of year in San Francisco, so skip the dresses and shorts and dress in layers. My rule for getting dressed in San Francisco is to put on the outfit that I think should be right for the weather – and then add one more layer. You won’t regret it! I recently got my first pair of Lululemon tights and they are perfect for casual cycling. I basically haven’t taken them off since I got them. They are super flattering, pulling you in at all the right places, but still easy to move in. It’s almost like magic. See more details about what we wore at the end of the post.
- Minimize stops on the bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the few ways out of town for the many cyclists in SF. The bridge is very busy and stopping suddenly to take a photo can cause a dangerous collision. As you can see in these photos, the best Golden Gate Bridge photos are in front of the bridge, not on the bridge itself! All you’ll get if you stop on the bridge is a picture of a red beam behind you, and maybe a cyclist in the background flipping you the bird. 🙂
- Pick the correct side. One side of the bridge is for cyclists, and the other is for pedestrians. Make sure you check!
- Wear a helmet. I cannot stress enough how important bicycle safety is. Even the best riders get into accidents and getting hit by a car can be deadly. All it takes is for a driver to be on the cell phone, have the sun in their eyes, or just not be paying attention. I’m married to someone who survived a traumatic brain injury (TBI) sustained while not wearing a helmet and the day of his accident was the single worst day of my life. Please, please love your brain and wear a helmet.
- Pack a lunch. A Golden Gate Bridge adventure is the perfect excuse for a picnic! There are many hiking trails on the north side of the bridge, but one of my favorite picnic spots is Crissy Field, at the base of the San Francisco side of the bridge. There are acres and acres of green grass with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is also a beach as well as great cycling paths.
Golden Gate Bridge Cycling Routes
Just the Bridge (1.7 miles): There’s a parking lot on both sides of the bridge, and the cost of parking is about $1/hr. It’s super easy to unload your bike, put on your helmet, do the quick ride and call it a day. This is an amazing plan if you have your heart set on biking across the bridge but it’s foggy and cold out. Round trip would be just over three miles.
Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge (4.1 miles): Many people start the ride at Fisherman’s Wharf. Personally, if you aren’t forced to be at Fisherman’s Wharf, I would avoid it like the plague. It’s super touristy and a million other places in SF are more unique and more interesting. However, this is where many of the bike rental options are because it’s such a huge tourist spot. Other than a hill leading up to the bridge itself, the ride from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge is reasonably flat. The ride itself winds through the Marina Neighborhood which is really beautiful and a great spot to stop for brunch or lunch.
Golden Gate Park to Golden Gate Bridge (~4 miles): I could spend an entire day in Golden Gate Park. It’s massive and absolutely gorgeous. We’re really lucky to have it smack dab in the middle of the city. It ends at Ocean Beach, which depending on how much exercise you want, can be a great place to visit too. The ride from Golden Gate Park to Golden Gate Bridge is pretty hilly, but it takes you through the Presidio, which is breathtakingly beautiful.
Sausalito to Golden Gate Park (2.8 miles): Charming Sausalito is the first town once you cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Even though it’s a short ride, there’s a huge hill to get out-of-town towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Another option is to bike there and take the ferry back. That way you get to stop in Sausalito for lunch or coffee, but skip the hill back!
The Ferry Building to Golden Gate Park (6 miles): The Ferry Building is one of my favorite spots in San Francisco. It’s beautiful and has a ton of great food options, as well as great bakeries and coffee. It’s also a great place to buy souvenirs. A perfect day for me would be a bike ride to the Saturday morning farmer’s market at the Ferry Building, and then to the bridge, with a picnic stop at Crissy Field to eat what we bought at the farmer’s market.
Golden Gate Bridge Bike Rentals
It is easy to rent a bike for riding across the Golden Gate Bridge. Rental cost is typically $5-8 per hour or $25-30 per day. Here are a couple of options:
Golden Gate Bridge Bike Rentals
2157 Lombard Street
San Francisco, CA
Offers bikes, mountain bikes, kids bikes and tandems. One of the closest rental places to Golden Gate Bridge.
757 Beach Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
Offers bikes, tandems, kids bikes, high-end bikes, mountain bikes and electric bikes, as well as guided tours. Located in Fisherman’s Wharf.
Bay City Bike Rentals & Tours
501 Bay Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
Offers bikes, electric bikes, high-end bikes and kids bikes, as well as guided tours. Located in Fisherman’s Wharf.
Sausalito, CA Bike Rentals
Starting across the bridge in Sausalito? Here are a couple of Sausalito bike rental companies:
What to Wear Biking the Golden Gate Bridge
Like I said before, comfortable layers are essential! Always dress warmer than you think you should. Here’s what we wore:
Lululemon NTS Jacket // Lululemon Swiftly Tech Longsleeve Crew // Lululemon Get Ready Jacket // Lululemon Fast & Free Tight // Lululemon Run All Day Backpack // Converse Tropical Print Sneakers // Nike Juvenate Premium //
Photos by Daniel Fabia for A Side of Sweet.
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